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Effort to protect Cass wild rice lakes begins

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news Brainerd, 56401

Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

The Cass Soil and Water Conservation District is partnering with Ducks Unlimited, BWSR and the DNR on an Outdoor Heritage Fund Project to protect shoreline habitat on important wild rice lakes in north central Minnesota.

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The project’s intent is to protect 117 shallow wild rice lakes in Aitkin, Carlton, Cass, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Itasca, St. Louis and Wadena counties. This would be achieved through the acquisition of voluntary land conservation easements. Conservation easements protect land from future development while keeping land in private ownership and on local tax rolls.

Parcels submitted will be reviewed to determine which provide the best natural resource investment for the conservation dollar. The landowners and parcels that are selected for funding will be paid 60 percent of the estimated market value of the land tract.

The following Cass County lakes are eligible: Brockway, Farnham, Laura, Lizotte Lower Hand, Rice (east of Pequot Lakes) and Rice (near Pillager). These lake match the criteria put forth by preliminary search done by the partnering agencies.

The Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council recommended this project for funding in 2011 funding and the Minnesota State Legislature approved funding recommendation in 2012. The funding provided comes from the dedicated sales tax legacy amendment passed in 2008 by Minnesota citizens.

Qualified landowners on one of these lakes may apply by contacting the Cass Soil and Water Conservation District at (218) 547-7399.

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